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Fighting spirit and fans will fuel Chiefs' drive for back-to-back wins

FILE - Kaizer Chiefs striker Samir Nurkovic. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

FILE - Kaizer Chiefs striker Samir Nurkovic. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Published Apr 15, 2022

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Cape Town — Kaizer Chiefs striker Samir Nurković has urged his teammates to display a fighting spirit to secure victory over SuperSport United in Saturday evening's DStv Premiership match at the FNB Stadium (7.30pm).

This season the Serbian Nurković battled with a succession of injuries, and last week he finally scored his first goal of the season in the 3-1 away win over Chippa United. Now that he had made a breakthrough, he is hungry to add more to his name as the season wounds to its close.

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He felt the team showed great fighting spirit against Chippa and has called for more of the same against SuperSport so that Chiefs can score back-to-back wins.

"We just need to continue with the same fighting spirit when we played against Chippa United," said Nurković.

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"For me, it has been a hard period in the past two years with a lot of injuries and surgery.

"I’m feeling great and happy to be back on the field after the struggle with injury.

For the first time since March 2020, Chiefs will be playing in front of their fans at their home venue. He feels the fans will inspire the players who are targeting a season-end runners-up slot behind Mamelodi Sundowns. In that way, Chiefs will qualify for the elite CAF Champions League next season.

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"I’m really happy because it has been a long time since we had them on the stands," said Nurković. "The last game was two years ago but finally, we are here.

ALSO READ: Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter not bothered by criticism on social media

"I’m really happy and looking forward to seeing them on the stands again.

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"Having such fantastic support as a club like Kaizer Chiefs we need them in every game because they are like our 12th player on the field.

"They give us the motivation that every player needs so I’m looking forward to seeing them back."

Another Chiefs player looking forward to welcoming the fans back is Brandon 'Beeza' Petersen, the former Ajax Cape Town and Bidvest Wits goalkeeper.

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ALSO READ: Disgraceful Kaizer Chiefs prioritise money ahead of fans to water down 12th man effect

He recalled the days (over a period of six seasons) when he played against Chiefs and the fans were hugely intimidating.

“For me when playing against Chiefs you were always excited and nervous about the crowd," said Petersen.

"You know the crowd will come out in their numbers and that the atmosphere is amazing. Everyone knows that Chiefs’ supporters are the club’s 12th man.

This time the fans will be on Petersen's side, and he'll savour the support of the home crowd.

“Now that the stadiums are opening up, I’m excited to have the supporters back," said Petersen.

"They will create that atmosphere again and I’m looking forward to the game.

"Mentally, knowing the fans are coming back means it’s going to be different, and much better.

ALSO READ: Kaizer Chiefs welcome back supporters with increased ticket prices

"We know the supporters are going to be there backing us and rooting for us. We know the supporters drive us and are a very important part of the Kaizer Chiefs brand and the Kaizer Chiefs family."

Chiefs defeated SuperSport in their first-round Premiership clash and Petersen is hoping the team can complete the double.

“Playing SuperSport is never an easy game," said Petersen. "They will come out firing.

"Everyone who plays Chiefs wants to beat us, so we know it’s going to be a good game, a physical game.

"We’ve been preparing well. We’re one up on them, hopefully, we can make it two.”

Chiefs may not know what to expect from their opponents because of a change of coach following the axing of Kaitano Tembo. SuperSport have named interim coach Andre Arendse to take over. He has been impressed by the team spirit at training.

“One thing that stood out for me at the training session is the vibe,” said Arendse. “There is intensity in our training and a willingness on how to do things. These are not things that are new to the players, they know that, and they have responded well.

“People are also putting their hands up for a starting line-up berth and any coach can tell you that it is a nice headache to have. I think that’s the thing that will drive us this week.”

Earlier on Saturday, the high-riding Cape Town City are going in search of a fifth league win in a row when they host Royal AM (start 5pm).

City have never won five Premiership matches in a row and coach Eric Tinkler is hoping to guide his charges into the history books.

“We potentially could have our fifth win in a row, something that hasn't been achieved at the club before, so that's a target and an objective,” Tinkler said. “You would love that momentum going in the game at the end of the month against Sundowns.”

If City win, they will move to within a point of Royal AM with a game in hand.

Another match of interest on Saturday will be KwaZulu-Natal derby between AmaZulu and Maritzburg United at the Moses Mabhida Stadium (start 3pm).

@Herman_Gibbs

IOL Sport

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